Commodities look like they are about to end their half-decade slump, which may kick off a bull run that could last into the next decade. The Bloomberg commodities index is set to close more than 20% higher than its earlier lows, which is by definition the start of a bull market. The question is, which companies offer exposure to a potential future commodities boom without having to pick up added risk from a precarious balance sheet, the result of years of commodity price declines?
Here are two companies that may seem totally unrelated but look set to gain alongside raw materials, energies and soft commodities across the next five years that are financially healthy.
By volume, BHP Billiton Ltd. (NYSE: BHP) was the fourth largest copper producer in the world during 2015, after Codelco, Freeport-McMoRan and Glencore International. It has almost zero debt. It is the more attractive of the four as a potential allocation based on its current price and its financial soundness.
The company registered a dip in copper production between 2014 and 2015, while its major competitors all boosted output. This put pressure on its market capitalization, and the company is down 54% on last year’s highs, and a huge 70% on its 2012 top. This gives it plenty of room to turn around in line with the wider copper/commodities space, but it also offers an investor the chance to pick up an exposure based on a comparative sentiment bias; i.e., it’s down more than its peers because its output dipped last year.
This one is a bit less obvious than the direct copper producer exposure, but it is still quite affected by commodities prices. Tesla Motors Inc. (NASDAQ: TSLA) is in good financial shape primarily because investors keep buying its equity offerings, so it doesn’t have to raise much debt.
As commodities rise, oil and gas prices obviously increase. This draws media attention to alternative methods of transport, of which Tesla’s electric car portfolio is currently the most attractive. If the Tesla 3 succeeds in servicing the lower end of the market while gas prices are on the rise, this is a double whammy for the company. Of course, increased commodities costs likely will boost Tesla’s production and distribution costs, and this will offset some of the gains. Net, however, the company looks set to pick up its pace on the back of a wave of commodities strength.